Wednesday 31 December 2014

WOW: Esther Doesn't Know What Day It Is ...

WOW = WIPs On Wednesday

Well, I just realised it was Wednesday a few minutes ago. I even happily posted a post about my Christmas table cloth this morning, all the while thinking I was doing really well to finish a WIP before Christmas and even find time to show it off before Wednesday. Except that I totally didn't know that it IS Wednesday today.

What can I say? I have festivity brain. I don't know if any of you are out there reading this, but for my regular WOWers, here is our usual regular linky. And further proof that I really do need that 2015 calender I keep putting off buying...

Have you forgotten anything this week?

My Christmas Tablecloth

I'm happy to share that I did get my fabric edging sewn down around my tablecloth in time for Christmas and went ahead and used this tablecloth on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and now it's folded away again until Easter. So, that's another WIP crossed off my list and just in the nick of time too!
Here I am ironing it on Christmas Eve. Because of the size of my table, its easier for me to iron and starch it on the table itself. I always starch my tablecloths because starching creates resistance to staining. Small spills simply bead off and you can blot them away without any washing.
I re-used my stencils from my 'Red December' quilt and used them on a white wholecloth. I arranged them into position according to my eye. To ensure accuracy, I ironed my fabric into equal lengths and followed the iron seams so that I could iron down my stencils into position nice and straight.

On washing, my ironed in grid lines simply eased out. When I fold my tablecloth after washing now, I still iron down the centre. This makes it easy to place on the table (we use a very large boardroom table and positioning can be a real pain). Once in place, I simply iron these guidelines away.
I always knew we'd have a candle for Christmas and Easter, so I created a space for it in the centre of my tablecloth. Like so.

I love how versatile stencils are, you can create whatever you need to your hearts content. And I alse really love finally getting things done. Especially when they're as long overdue as this tablecloth was.

And all before WOW too :) See you tomorrow...

Sunday 28 December 2014

Have *YOU* Downloaded Love Entwined?

If you haven't, please do so now. Its free to members of my Yahoo BOM Group. It will be taken out of the Group (and no longer available for free) on January 1st, 2015. If you think this is one of those quilts you'd like to make, please get onto downloading it now. 

In the last 2 years, I've been preoccupied with Love Entwined, and this saw some of my other patterns get pushed to the side. There simply wasn't any time to release them.

In 2015, I am planning on releasing numerous patterns as I've been clearing out my design folios and am ready to see my quilts 'go live'. It's going to be a busy, vibrant year for new quilts across different themes and styles, so if you've been thinking about joining my Yahoo BOM Group, the time to do so is now.

Go ahead and join, its free. And if you know any other quilters who aren't members yet, let them know about our great online quilting Group too. Some members work from home keeping touch with our Group with updates and pics. Others find each other and meet up in real life to make the quilts they've fallen in love with. Whatever your style, this year there's bound to be a quilt for you.

Members of my Yahoo BOM Quilting Group receive all released patterns for free during the month of release. After that time, the pattern is removed and available for sale in my Etsy shop. Join in and never miss a pattern by being a member.

Saturday 27 December 2014

New EU VAT Laws

Update: 31 Dec 2014

Thanks to Erica Spinks's comment, I came across a platform that takes care of the EU VAT and this will allow me to continue selling to all EU countries. I have moved all my digital data over and am ready to sell. For me, this means business as usual, regardless of the buyer's location.

For Australia, I don't know what this means or why there is so little information available to us regarding this matter. From what I understand, the law applies to ANYONE selling to any of the 28 EU countries. If you sell a digital product to any EU customer, you are liable for the tax due on that item. There are thousands of small businesses in Australia that sell digital items to the EU. Yet, there has been no official advice regarding this matter from either the Small Business Commissioner, Small Business Victoria or ASIC.

Why exactly do we have a Minister for Small Business when small business can't rely on or apparently expect advice concerning such matters? Who knows.

One thing's clear though: ignoring these laws won't work as it looks like these laws will apply to stretch to actual 'goods' from 2016 also and that will effect even more small businesses.

There's a new law coming into effect on the 1st of January 2015. It basically concerns anyone selling digital download products (such as my quilt patterns) to a customer in any EU country. It requires the seller to collect tax on behalf of that EU country and follow through with paying those taxes through an expensive, time consuming tax policy process.

There's been some discussion concerning this law in the UK in regards to UK sellers providing digital downloads to EU members, but as of today, there has been no information concerning the requirements for people selling outside the EU to EU members.

From what I understand, anyone selling a digital download product to a customer in the EU will have to pay regardless of their (the sellers) location. However, I have heard nothing specific about this where I am located, in Australia. I know of several US based shops who have stated that they will not be selling to the EU because of this law, but I have found it very difficult to get timely, accurate advice concerning this matter for Australian citizens.

This is concerning given that the law comes into effect on January 1st 2015.

I didn't know about this law until it was brought to my attention by another quilter on her blog and since then I've been at a loss to explain how it is that, with millions of e-book sellers out there who will be effected by this law, there has been so little discussion concerning its application in real life.

I am moving what patterns I sell over to an Etsy based store as I can't control digital sales by country on my present sales platform. Etsy have made a vague statement regarding this law, but so far haven't been specific and haven't addressed the implications for sellers outside the UK. I am waiting to receive more info from Etsy regarding this matter.

It looks likely that I will not be selling instant digital downloads to quilters in the EU. How this will be implemented, I don't know. I am assuming and hoping that Etsy will allow sellers to select which countries an item is available to sell to.

To all my EU customers who are interested in purchasing a pattern from me after January the 1st, you will still be able to do so, however instead of an immediate digital download, I will send the pattern on to you via email. This changes the product classification from a digital download to simply a digital product. Its annoying that we have to take a step backwards regarding technological advances and conveniences but it is presently looking like this will be the easiest work around.

For all my blog readers and quilters who have ever considered buying a pattern from me, please read this: my patterns will always be available for free during the month of their release over in my Yahoo BOM Group. Make sure you're a member (its free) as its a great way to ensure that you never miss out.

2015 is going to be a big year for me pattern wise, especially after the LE pattern lull of 2013 / 2014. Please become a member if you aren't already one.

Wednesday 24 December 2014

WOW: Merry Christmas Eve

WOW = WIPs On Wednesday

Where did the year get to? And why do I always find myself saying that this time each year? I was planning on a wind down, but in reality, there hasn't been a slow down - just a reassignment of energy to different tasks. This year, instead of the usual poinsettias that I usually purchase for the home (I do love them) I went with a basket of 'giant red' geraniums. I love these too, they are a lifelong obsession of mine, and I am really enjoying their huge red blooms and heady scent. I have this basket by the front door.
I did also  get two small potted poinsettias because I couldn't resist but I no longer opted for the huge pot with the largest plant like I normally do because no matter what, they never survive January. So I went for two smaller pots to have on the table for Christmas lunch instead. 

Ordinarily on Christmas Eve, I'd be baking with my DDs and by today, most of it would be done. But this year, with one thing and another, we decided not to do our traditional baking routine and it has somewhat broken up our schedule - it just doesn't feel like Christmas because the oven isn't on and the house isn't full of the scent of almonds! Isn't it funny how these little traditions mark out our personal timetables for the festive season? It just means that we've bought our spekulatius biscuits and cakes and stollen this year instead of making them. It will be interesting to see and taste the difference.

Have you made any Christmas tradition 
changes or shortcuts this year?

Tuesday 23 December 2014

QNNTV: the worst $12 I spent this year

I think we've all been there- you pay for something you don't receive. So you chase it up. When that's ignored, you try again. And again. And because you've had service before, you simply assume the best of the company and wait some more. But nothing happens. And it's annoying because no matter what lengths you go to in order to resolve the issue, you're routinely and rudely ignored.

I'm really disappointed to report that I haven't been able to get hold of anyone at QNNTV since September (and 8 emails later). Sure, $12 is hardly going to break the bank, but I'm quite annoyed to have been treated so rudely and ignored completely.

Is anyone else out there being ignored by QNNTV?

I used to really love their program and would watch it in the background whilst working in my studio. But not anymore. And the bad news is, it seems that this failure in customer service is catching - my Fons & Porter subscription has just done the same thing. I've paid my yearly subscription but have been locked out of all access. And again, no response to queries.

When did quilting companies get so slack?

Wednesday 17 December 2014

WOW: December Slow Down!

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

It's been a whole week since I was online. I did miss dropping in on my quilting friends and their blogs, but I have been focusing on my Love Entwined workshop next year at AQC. There's a lot of preparation that's involved when creating a workshop and because my DH and I travel so often, I like to be prepared a few months ahead. It's just a weight off my mind. And if I can get it done before Christmas (fingers crossed) then I'll be really delighted. 

My Love Entwined posters have just arrived. These are for the purpose of promoting my workshop and I've had them printed in several mock up options. If you follow my blog, you'll know that I agonized over my fabric choices for my own LE, and I have to tell you that colouring in my posters was no different. In the end I simply went for 2 different looks. 

Here is my creamy beige with a pop of red poster

and here's a section from my red version

I do love this quilt and I'm so happy to be sharing my love of it with others. Today I'm working on my notes for the workshop. After that, I think I'll be closing my studio door until the New Year for a much needed break. Although, even as I type this, I wonder if I cant stay out of my studio for a whole two weeks. It doesn't seem likely...

What's Your WOW ?

Wednesday 10 December 2014

WOW: A Tablecloth for Christmas

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays 

I'm so happy to have completed my festive wall hanging, the 12 Days of Christmas, that I'm feeling reinvigorated enough to maybe get a few other lingering Christmas WIPs finished too. I wasn't planning on it, but today I'm thinking about finishing this Red December tablecloth. 
It's perfect for Christmas and all it needs its some edging in red (which I'd already prepared years ago). Red December is a Christmas quilt that I love. It was released a few years ago as my free Yahoo BOM Group Christmas project. Well, I don't know what's happened this year, but this month I've received 5 requests from members for the pattern, completely out of the blue. And that naturally has me thinking about the quilt and the tablecloth I made from the very same stencils. I think I was planning on adding more stenciled embellishments to the tablecloth, but looking at it anew this morning, I just don't feel like that's necessary.

And this is the quilt. As you can see, its already basted. And now I'm considering whether or not to try and squeeze it in before Christmas. It's a dilemma. Part of me just wants to see it done and I am really looking forward to having it finally quilted. But another part of me knows how tricky and moody my 820 is and I don't know if this is a challenge I have the nerves for so close to Christmas at such a busy time of year. I'm really disappointed that my sewing decisions have to factor in a moody machine, but that's something I don't have the energy to dwell on. If I did, I simply wouldn't get anything done - and my WIP pile won't stand for that!
This is my quilt 'Red December', it's such a simple design and yet so evocative. I really love it and have planned on quilting it for a few years now. I'm looking at it thinking, do I have time? Should I attempt to quilt it before Christmas? Am I really serious? I know I always underestimate how long it will take to quilt a quilt on the 820. On the other hand, this is a simple quilting project so it may be do-able. I'll think about it some more as I finish up the tablecloth.
It's probably no surprise to you to see that my main Christmas colour is red. It always has been. This is something I never really gave much thought to until last weekend when I went to visit a friend of mine. She has all her festive season finery up and its decidedly green. She tells me she's always been a 'green Christmas' kind of woman. That's the first time I'd ever considered that preference. However, now that its occurred to me, I realise that one of my DD's is decidedly gold and always has been, and the other is all snowy whites and silvers.

So of course I'd love to know, what festive colour are you?

Tuesday 9 December 2014

12 Days Finally Quilted

A WIP no more! This is what its all about: and this is what I had in mind when I designed the 12 Days of Christmas Wall Hanging all those years ago (two years? three years? I can't keep up with myself!). What I wanted was a festive quilt for hanging in December and enjoyed for the month ahead. Finally, I've finally done it. And I had just the corner for it too, above this small cabinet of drawers. It's a good spot for displaying those Christmas trinkets. This 'shelf' is actually a display of items which haven been sent to me in friendship from all over the world, so it has a special spot in my heart and I love walking past it.

here I was last Wednesday and yes, it feels good to call it done
 I went for simple lines based on the existing shapes
 for my tree baubles, I used decorative buttons
and simply stitched a loop of the bauble tip
 For the background, I created diamonds to mimic the tree
 I love this pop of candy stripe for the binding, it really lifts the whole quilt, colour wise
simple lines to accentuate the dove which I love most of all from this wall hanging
I'm already thinking of 'new baubles' for my tree. I do love the 12 Days of Christmas, but I also love the idea of changing them each year, With the button and loop system, its so easy to do. And you could even hang real baubles from the tree. My DD has started silk ribbon embroidery and I'm hoping that in the year ahead, she might ribbon up 12 large red roses on the same bauble shape for hanging, I think that would be a beautiful change. Of course, I think family photos using the transfer fabric could work too. There are really so many ways to adapt the wall hanging. And for those of you lucky enough to have an embroidery machine, the possibilities really are endless!

It's too late to do this year, but I do think that from next year onward, I might start designing 12 new designs for this tree until I've exhausted all my ideas. 

Because my Bernina 820 has been really playing up, it took me three days to quilt this wall hanging. To be honest, with quilting this basic - it could be done in 12 hours and for me, that's one day of quilting.

I'm going to do a separate post on quilting with the Bernina 820 in the New Year ( I just don't have time before then) to cover what threads to use. Unusually, the 820 hates most threads, including most Aurifil which is my go to thread so its been a real challenge to get anything quilted on this machine at all. Like I always say about the 820, it should never have been released onto the market, its not fit for purpose. Everything is a 'work around' with this machine. It really ruins the enjoyment of quilting.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

WOW: Did Someone Say December?

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

Well, I was hoping for a wind down December, but that was not to be! I've got a plan in place to take me up to the 15th of December, and then I think I'll slow down for the Season.

Since last week, I've been having ongoing issues with my copier. It's vital to my pattern work; its where I scan and copy my patterns. I simply wouldn't be able to share my patterns without it. In my household we have a thing called the 'curse of the blog' and it goes like this: whenever I am about to release a pattern and am in the midst of all my busy scanning, the copier dies. It only ever dies when I have a deadline. It's very strange. My DD's jokingly insist that I shouldn't talk out loud when I'm working on it because the copier might hear me. Of course, we all think its very funny that our copier doesn't want me to release patterns, but its also very expensive, time consuming and annoying too. We've had three repairs out on it in the last ten days and I am ready to just take a copier holiday. 

Yesterday we were discussing our Christmas tree plans when my DD's complained loudly about how I still haven't finished my 12 Days of Christmas Wall Hanging. It's been a WIP for the last few years but enough is enough. It's really time for me to finish this festive wall hanging. 

So today, I have plans to finally sit down and quilt it. For once and for all. I'm trying to stay positive about it - because I'm going to quilt it on my 820 and the 820 has been misbehaving more than ever lately, so I don't hold out much enthusiasm for the quilting ahead. However, I am planning to stick with the most basic quilting design and just get this fun piece up on the wall already. We've been enjoying it 'unfinished' for the last few Christmases but this year it will be hanging up finished and done. 

Last night I pinned the layers down, today I hope to get most of the quilting done and I hope to hang it up before Friday dinnertime. We'll see....

What's Your WOW ?

Wednesday 26 November 2014

WOW: LE's Hardest Block

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays 
I know I said I was about to take an LE 'holiday', but just before putting away my LE project box and getting my household ready for Christmas, I decided that I should tackle the hardest block and have that out of the way first. So what's the hardest block in Love Entwined? This swirling leaf. 
Of course, it's do-able but I have found it to be so small, fiddly and tricky! It requires perfect preparation, patience and a whole day of calm determination. I have used my usual edge turn applique technique so there's nothing daunting about the how of these pieces - just the actual process, they're just so concentrated. 
this is oh so satisfying and now, I can take that LE break with a big smile of my face
 What's Your WOW ?

Friday 21 November 2014

LE: Working On My Border Blocks

I'm working on another border today. I'm making LE out of turn (according to the pattern); so pattern wise this would be Part 12.
I just love these blocks and like all the blocks before and all the blocks to come, there is so much expression in the details. Today I'm focusing on the crosses which rest on a circle. Taking my cue from what I think are guardian angels 'guarding' these blocks, I assume they are crucifixes and that these blocks are an expression of spirituality or superstition of the maker. Of course, without some information regarding the life of the maker, we can only guess and those guardian angles might yet be candlesticks and these crosses just crosses... who knows?

I think we all personalise and create narratives that appeal to us based on the visuals available. Certainly, within the Yahoo BOM Group, I have seen many different interpretations of these borders are each and every one express the maker, and that's all any of us can hope for anyway - for the quilt to end up expressing us whilst paying homage to another. It's a very special process.
Before reaching this stage, I spent several days doing the prep work - yes, I'm talking prep again! Printing out all the pieces, cutting out all the pieces, lining them up alongside the selected fabric - if I posted all these details you'd completely lose interest, its a fairly dull routine of organisation which I have shown in earlier LE posts. All I can say about the preparation required is that it's a good idea to somehow try to enjoy all the 'build up' work because it makes the piecing together work fall into place so beautifully. One needs the other. If you start from the scratch point with every block, you will soon lose the will the finish - its just to much to take on in one step. Break it down and make each step neat, precise and ready to move on with. 
I snip between the cross, making a 'Y' shape at each corner of the curve
I use some Quilt Stitch glue at the corner of the fabric
and then saturate the middle fabric with Elmer's Disappearing Purple Glue
Using a manicure stick, I like to twirl it at the 'Y' cut of the corners, and this twirling motion moves the fabric very nicely to curl over the edge, it creates a very neat finish
like this
and repeat all the way around
This gives you a better idea of what I mean by twirling - the wetness of the glue and the motion of the twirl pushes out the fabric with little effort in your part 
and now the the tips are folded over, you use the tip of your manicure stick to stamp down the remaining edges all the way around the shape. The reason I twirl before stamping is that if you try to stamp the 'Y' cut corner, it can tug or buckle, creating a tiny but annoying crease; using the give in the fabric grain to turn for you, makes your shape smooth and its much faster and easier to actually do than it is to blog about - so don't be put off by the length of this post, it will come together quicker in real life after a few attempts. 
all turned and time for more glue
now I put down my background fabric and 'press' it into place with my fingers
Now I turn it over and using my manicure stick tip, I press in at the corners to really fix it down and ensure that everything is smooth and no bunching is evident. Now I will just mention that this shape is purposefully naive; it isn't supposed to be symmetrical or straight, it is supposed to look hand drawn like this. 
When I'm happy with the front, I add some more glue to the seam allowance and start tucking it in around the circle, like below. 
All done 
Now I dab a tiny circle of basting glue around this finished piece, ready to be put down in position
like this
and now I'm ready to create the next piece and they will remain in position until I'm ready for a few gentle weeks of hand sewing them into permanent position. 

After this border is complete I will be taking a pause from LE for a few weeks and working on some other projects as I am finding it so intensive, I need a short break to pace myself. I know many people have had periods of stopping and starting and stopping again and in my opinion - this shouldn't be seen as a negative thing - this is a quilt like no other and only a very select few (and I am not included in that number) have the stamina to start and finish it in one swoop! Narelle Birchall did and my goodness, am I in awe of her energy to have completed this quilt in time with the BOM release - it's a staggering feat! But for me, I need a LE holiday and I find that having just entered the birthday and holiday 'season' in my own household, my mind isn't focused on this as a priority (in terms of progress) for the next few weeks. 

Wednesday 19 November 2014

WOW: Lily Rose: Making a Start

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays

I've finally started Lily Rose. What am I doing? Well, I'm full steam ahead with LE and I need a project to break up that intensity, and Lily Rose fits the bill perfectly as I want to hang it on a lonesome door in my house. I just love this wall hanging. I'm so lucky - I get to see my patterns made even when I'm months away from making it myself! I feel like this about all my patterns. In the beginning, with my first ever BOM Red Delicious, I was making it along with the monthly pattern release. Since then, I have gone through bouts of intense quilt designing which means that I am potentially years behind on actually making some of my own quilts. 

And yet, this doesn't bother me any more. The more quilts I make, the more sure I am that its best to wait until you're in the right mood or time to make any quilt. I learnt this lesson with Love Entwined. I just wasn't ready to start when I felt that I should ....but then, when I finally did start, it was a real pleasure and just felt right. 

At the moment, I have three quilt designs in different stages of being turned into patterns. But in my spare time, I'm working on Lily Rose. I just feel like making it right now.

How do you decide which quilts you work on? Do you set them aside and select which ones you feel like making? Or do you feel called to make them as soon as you meet them?

What's Your WOW ?

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